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Friday, July 23, 2021 by Amy Smith
Redistricting commission races to fulfill its mission in short time frame
With a Nov. 1 deadline just months away, the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is moving at an unusually fast pace to hold public hearings in each City Council district, draft new district lines based on delayed 2020 census data, gather public input, and adopt a final 10-district map in the fall.
Last week, the 14-member commission kicked off the first of 10 public hearings at City Hall, in District 9, followed by a public hearing Thursday in District 10 and another one set for Saturday in District 7. On top of that schedule, the commission held its regular meeting Wednesday night.
Led by Chair Christina Puentes and Vice Chair Luis Gonzalez, the commission has also moved quickly to hire its legal counsel, David Richards and George Korbel. Christine Granados will serve as the ICRC’s administrative manager.
At the first hearing July 15, Puentes laid out the city’s redistricting history, demographic data, and the commission’s challenges ahead: “Between the time we receive the data from the census bureau and the Nov. 1 deadline, we will need to draw preliminary maps, present them to the public in each (Council district) and take public input, then revise the maps, present the final maps two more times and take public input, and then adopt the final plan. That’s a lot to do in that very short timeline,” she said.
As it stands now, the redistricting data needed to redraw district boundaries is expected to be released between mid-August and late September. The software to decipher the raw data will not be available until the end of September.
With public hearings for districts 9 and 10 completed, the remaining forums are scheduled as follows:
- District 7: Saturday, July 24, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Northwest Recreation Center, 2913 Northland Drive
- District 8: Tuesday, July 27, 6-8 p.m., Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.
- District 4: Saturday, July 31, 2-4 p.m., Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane
- District 6: Tuesday, Aug. 3, 6-8 p.m., Spicewood Springs Branch Library, 8637 Spicewood Springs Road
- District 3: Saturday, Aug. 7, 1-3 p.m., Ruiz Branch Library, 1600 Grove Blvd.
- District 2: Tuesday, Aug. 10, 6-8 p.m., Mendez Middle School, 5106 Village Square Dr.
- District 1: Saturday, Aug. 14, 1-3 p.m., George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, 1165 Angelina St.
- District 5: Tuesday, Aug. 17, 6-8 p.m., Manchaca Road Library, 5500 Manchaca Rd.
- Virtual public forum, August, date and time pending
This story has been updated with the location of the District 2 forum.
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission: The fourteen-member group charged with drawing Austin's ten geographically based districts. Established in 2013, and inactive until reconvened by city charter